Friday, January 11, 2008

A (school) day in the life

We never have two of the same days in a row!

For example, Monday was horrid.

As in completely and totally beyond terrible to the point where I had to leave the house because I had daydreams about a particular child and that bright yellow bus that drives past our house in the wee hours of the morning.

There were tears by that certain him and tears from moi.

Those are the days that you just have to stop, take a break (or the day off) and start over again the next day. It WILL pass, I promise! Just try really really hard to not say things you will regret. Maybe even put yourself in a time out. So remember that next time, okay?

We were going to have lessons on Tuesday, but it just didn't happen y'all. I did, however, manage to get the house semi-clean and we had company stay the night.

Wednesday and today (Thursday) were beyond WONDERFUL!!! Can you believe it? Two days in a row of not just okay but almost ideallic!

So can I just put down for the record what a fantastic homeschool day looks like for us?

Trust me, I will need this written reminder for those inevitable days that were like this past Monday.

-I woke up around 8:30am. Drat. I like to be up at 7am so I can have my quiet time, coffee, and be ready for the kids when they wake up. And so we have a good chance of starting our lessons on time-- our goal being 9:00am. Oh well. It can still be done.

-The kids were already awake. All of them. But that's okay. They weren't fighting or wreaking utter destruction upon the house. In fact, they were already eating breakfast-- toaster waffles for one and cereal for the other two. I'm telling you, putting those bowls and cereal boxes in the bottom cabinet was one of the most brilliant ideas I've ever had! (Sad, but true!)

-The boys brushed their teeth, changed their clothes and waited in the schoolroom for me. While I was getting my morning cup of coffee, they completed an assignment from this book.

I copied a page and put it on their desks the night before. They are finally starting to understand that you can't always do things your own way. Those instructions are important-- and if you don't follow them, the results don't come out like they are supposed to!

-It is 9:45-ish by the time I join them.

-Our daily schedule is not broken down in tiny increments. If I did, something would inevitably come up or someone would dawdle and I would just get really upset about being SO off-schedule. Instead, we have goals and a general direction to our day.

-The general direction of our subjects is as follows:

  • Math-U-See

  • one page of handwriting (Italic Writing by Getty & Dubay)

  • individual language arts assignments (usually a few workbook pages and a chapter to read in their personal readers-- which, by the way, tie in to the period in time we are studying in history courtesy of WinterPromise.

  • review individual spelling words- either a new weekly list or any words they missed previously. either spell it out-loud or on the whiteboard per child's preference (or mood!).

  • WinterPromise American Story 1 - We do this together as a group and do the assigned reading and discussion for that particular day (they schedule it all out for you!).

-The kids go outside and play while I make lunch. It is around 1:00pm.

-Science is after lunch. We are studying God's Design for Life: The Human Body by Answers in Genesis.

-It is 2:15pm and we are DONE!!! Well, we still have our current read-aloud which is The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare. I am flexible as to when we do this-- during breakfast, during lunch, after lunch or even right before bed-- it totally depends on the day.

The kids spend the rest of the day playing with their Magnetix, rowing around the pond, hitting tennis balls (all over the place!) in the driveway and playing on the dirt pile. Talk about boy heaven!

I wonder if they even realize how blessed they are. They may not realize it right now, but one day they will... Man, sometimes *I* don't even realize how blessed I am! But today and yesterday, I see very clearly how beyond blessed I am and how I don't deserve a bit of it. God is very gracious indeed!

Sometimes our homeschool day actually ends with every assignment being completed. Other days have glitches both major and minor-- like waking up 1.5 hours later than planned (although some may see that as a really good thing!); or like the one math page taking 3 HOURS to complete due to intense dawdling; or fighting, crying, and just plain old complaining that reduces everyone to tears.

What defines a good day vs. a bad day is not necessarily the number of subjects that get completed but the state of the heart. When a day is full of discussion, doing your best, good attitudes and happy hearts-- well, that is what makes it a great school day (the math will still be there tomorrow!

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